Eschatological Studies. -- By: John A. Reubelt
BSac 27:108 (Oct 1870) p. 647
“The diversity and confusion in the doctrine of the church [on the subject of eschatology] is due, in part, to the conflict of the views represented in the New Testament itself. …. It is impossible, I believe, to deduce from the scriptures of the New Testament a doctrine of the life to come; which shall fit all the texts, and satisfy all the demands of the subject; which shall harmonize the Apocalyptic vision of the ‘new earth’ and the new Jerusalem upon it, with Paul’s conception of being raised from the dead and caught up into the clouds to dwell with the Lord in the air; which shall harmonize any doctrine of final resurrection with the words of Jesus to the thief on the cross: ‘This day shall thou be with me in paradise.’”1
Whoever regards the Bible as the book containing an authentic account of God’s self-revelation to man, cannot possibly agree with these utterances of Dr. Hedge, as they presume the existence of contradictions, hence of errors, in the Bible, even the absence of which would not necessarily prove its inspiration. Had he, however, made the same or similar remarks with regard to the eschatology of the church, present or past, he would have uttered an almost self-evident truth. For it is well known that not only the different branches of the church differ in their eschatological views, but also members of the same sects or parties; nor have the views of the same denominations been the same at all times, with, perhaps, the sole exception of the Greek church, whose characteristic, from the fifth century, has been immutability, or rather stagnation. The Latin church boasts, indeed, also
BSac 27:108 (Oct 1870) p. 648
of the same unchangeableness, but in vain; and it is not to her disgrace, that this peculiar boast is unfounded, for where there is life there is progress, there is change — das Fertige is das Todte. It is, moreover, a fact of history, though deeply to be regretted, that in the great Reformation of the sixteenth century polemics, and other improper elements, mixed too largely with the subject under consideration, and prevented the truth, as it is revealed in the Bible, from being comprehended and appropriated in its totality by the Reformed church. — It is proposed to give in the following pages something like a consistent, though necessarily brief, statement of the Bible teachings on the subject of eschatology, setting forth at the same time, as we go along, the leading errors held on the subject, and their causes.
The large majority of Protestants believe and teach that the soul immediately after leaving the body goes to its final resting place — to heaven, if unite...
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